Reisch to attend Army War College

Reisch to attend Army War College Gov. Mike Rounds has announced that Corrections Secretary Tim Reisch is taking an 11-month leave of absence to attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA, starting in July.

"Being selected to attend the war college is a tremendous honor," said Gov. Rounds. "Tim will return with enhanced skills that will not only benefit the National Guard, but the Department of Corrections as well."

South Dakota State Penitentiary Chief Warden Doug Weber will serve as interim secretary during Reisch's absence.

Weber has worked in the Department of Corrections since 1981 when he was originally hired as a correctional officer under Warden Herm Solem at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He was promoted through the ranks serving in a variety of positions including training officer, major for special investigations and associate warden for security.

He was named warden of the State Penitentiary in 1996, and chief warden overseeing all adult institutions in 1999.

"Doug Weber is a rock-solid administrator and will do an excellent job filling in during my absence," said Reisch. "The state is fortunate to have a person of his caliber who is willing to step up to the plate in this manner."

The secretary of corrections oversees 820 employees, and manages an annual budget exceeding $85 million.

The Department of Corrections has undergone numerous changes during the last 16 months:

* During the 2003 legislative session, Gov. Rounds signed an executive order requiring that participation in performance-based standards be mandatory in South Dakota's juvenile programs.

* The governor introduced legislation requiring the state to become compliant with the Juvenile Justice Delinquency & Prevention Act.

As a result, South Dakota will receive more than $2 million in formula grants for federal fiscal year 2003, and $600,000 for fiscal year 2004 to be invested in enhancing juvenile justice programs statewide.

* After passage of a bill adding 792 beds to the over-crowded prison system, Gov. Rounds appointed more than 40 members to a special corrections workgroup to look into ways to stem the tide of increasing growth in the state's adult prison system.

* Several months later, the Custer Youth Corrections Center was renamed the STAR (State Treatment and Rehabilitation) Academy. In addition to name changes, the juvenile division has targeted philosophical change, in particular paying closer attention to the individual needs of all youth committed to the department.

* Secretary Reisch also created an internal corrections review team, which is charged with conducting inspections of the policies and operations of the adult prison facilities in the state.

Reisch, holding the rank of colonel, is a 25-year veteran of the South Dakota Army National Guard.

He is a former commander of the 153rd Engineer Battalion currently stationed in Iraq.

Reisch is one of just nine traditional members of the National Guard selected to attend the Army War College in residence this year.

Reisch is scheduled to return to his post as Corrections Secretary following graduation ceremonies from the War College in June 2005.

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